Title of Article‘It’s good to be useful’: activity provision on green care farms in Norway for people living with dementia
Type of ArticleSpecial issue article
Author/sTobba Therkildsen Sudmann and Ingebjørg Træland Børsheim
ReferenceVolume 7, Special Issue on Enhancing wellbeing: practice and politics, Article 8
Date of PublicationSeptember 2017
Keywordsdementia, green care, liminality, reablement, strength-based activity, wellbeing

Background: Green care farms offer activity provision to people living with dementia but the body of knowledge on how participants use and appraise these services is limited.

Aims: To study how participants make use of the farms, how social interaction and activities facilitate or hinder enablement and reablement, and how participants relate this to wellbeing and joy.

Methods and participants: Data were drawn from a study of green care in three Norwegian municipalities. The theoretical framework was micro-sociology, and the methodology was case studies/participant observation, including approximately 25 participants, five farmers and three farms. Ethical approval was obtained and discretion was exercised when assessing conditions for consent.

Results and discussion: Enablement and contentment are related to micro-interaction, roles and audiences. The farmhand/maid role is created by tasks, tools, a supervisor and ‘being useful’, the guest role by coffee drinking, a host and ‘being away’. Micro-interaction creates a liminal experience, during which the significance of the dementia is diminished.

Conclusions: Green care provides contact with nature and animals, physical activity, communal meals and social interaction. It enables/reables participants and reduces the risk of embarrassment and stigma. Provision needs to be developed, with a greater variety of activities to support the persons’ identity and self-esteem, and to ensure there are person-tailored services in a social setting. More research is needed to show how valued elements from green care can be implemented within regular dementia daycare services.

Implications for practice:

  • Activity provision on green care farms shows that real and meaningful activities enhance participants’ sense of wellbeing
  • Green care is a liminal experience during which interaction creates a sense of community and a situated identity, diminishing the significance of dementia
  • Farmers and their employees need practical and relational skills to be able to identify and take advantage of enabling activities and environments at the farm

This article by Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann and Ingebjørg Træland Børsheim is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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